Images are the driving force behind some of social media’s most engaging campaigns. In fact, over the past year, almost every major social network has made visual content more prominent through updated features or new ad types. Photos are Instagram’s bread and butter, making it a very powerful platform for business. But according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing report, only 34% of brands are currently using Instagram.
That’s surprisingly low considering how well branded content performs on the photo-sharing network. Last year, Instagram delivered brands 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. You can see why it’d be important for you to have a presence on Instagram if your target audience actively uses the app.
With roughly a third of brands on Instagram, there’s a huge opportunity for your business to get involved. But we get it. Sometimes joining a new social platform can be a big undertaking. Where do you start? How can you stand out? Who should you follow? While there are literally thousands of amazing recommendations, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Instagram accounts to follow for business, marketing and social media tips.
TED, a nonprofit best known for its short yet powerful talks, is a global community driven by the goal of spreading great ideas. What began as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, now covers almost all topics—from science to business to global issues.
Can we have a more thoughtful debate about the most divisive issues? Aspen Baker believes we can. She wants to change the conversation about issues like abortion or immigration by encouraging people to listen fully and share stories. “There's never a time when everyone will be on the same page, share the same lens, or know the same history,” she says. “So, let's talk about listening and how to be a good listener.” Learn about her pro-voice philosophy at go.ted.com/trulylisten
With a diverse roster of speakers and a carefully curated content strategy, TED’s Instagram account is a spectacular resource for anyone looking to learn something new. From great quotes to powerful ideas to inspirational stories, there’s value here for everyone.
With more than 65 global offices, you might expect the world’s largest PR firm to be a little stiff or distant on social media. But it’s quite the opposite. Edelman does an amazing job of making business news and corporate announcements interesting.
One of the biggest ways social media has changed marketing is by enabling brands to build emotional connections with their customers. Edelman’s Instagram account is the perfect example of a well-balanced mix of business content and company culture.
As one of the leading providers of email, event and social marketing, Constant Contact is committed to helping small businesses and nonprofits succeed in the digital world. One of the ways it achieves this is through its Instagram account, which is chock-full of inspiring quotes, compelling data and daily tips and tricks for Instagram users.
Jenna Shaffer's students are EXCITED to learn about #emailmarketing! Her recent email boot camp class in Cincinnati did the wave to show their gratitude ? #Repost @jennashaff with @repostapp. ・・・ It's classes like this that make the travel, lost luggage, missed/cancelled/delayed flights, hotel rooms and jet-lag all worth while. Thank you #Cincinnati for being fantastic! ❤️☺️✈️ @constantcontact #emailmarketing #worktravel #shopsmall #ctctlife #smallbusinessmarketing #nonprofit #nonprofitmarketing #smallbusiness #smallbusinesslove #smallbizlife
And, like Edelman, Constant Contact does a fantastic job of showing off its company culture. Not only does this help to humanize the brand, but it’s also a great way to spark conversation among followers.
4. Krista Neher
Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital, knows a thing or two about finding success on Instagram. Not only does she have more than 10 years of marketing experience, but she’s also the author of “Visual Social Media Marketing: Harnessing Images, Instagram, Infographics and Pinterest to Grow Your Business Online.”
Her Instagram account is on the simpler side, but it features many motivational and inspirational quotes. What we love about it is that Neher shows how easy it can be to work with text on a visual platform.
Have you ever wondered who’s behind some of those incredibly engaging images on Oreo’s Instagram feed? Mystery solved: 360i. The digital marketing agency specializes in fresh, creative content for its clients, but that energy shines through on its own account as well.
360i’s Instagram is the perfect mix of company culture and client shout-outs—and sometimes the two are weaved together seamlessly like in the example above.
We can’t stress this enough: building an emotional connection with followers is critical to your success. One of the best ways to do this is to pull back the curtain and let followers get to know the people inside your company. What better way than through vibrant visuals and videos?
6. Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur, investor, producer, author, TV personality, philanthropist and owner of an NBA team. To say that the man has a lot going on would be a massive understatement. Yet his Instagram account paints a much different story.
Cuban is also a husband and a father, and we love that his Instagram feed is full of images of his family. Despite his presumably insane schedule—one that business owners most likely can relate to—he shows us that it’s still possible to make time for family.
In doing so, Cuban is really connecting with his community of followers. He’s all of those things we stated above, but through the power of visual content, he’s found a way to relate to individuals across the globe and pay grades. Business is numbers and strategy, but it’s also emotional. It’s human.
Company culture is an important aspect of your business to highlight, but there are other things to call attention to. What’s happening outside of your office walls? What events do you attend? Is anyone from your team participating in a panel? How do you take social marketing offline for your clients? These are all questions that Ogilvy & Mather answered on its Instagram account.
The agency has become a terrific source of information on industry events, and regularly shares key moments and interesting takeaways.
Motivational quotes are great, but sometimes you need more than that to feel inspired. Marketing Inspiration uses its Instagram account to shine a light on some of the most engaging and creative marketing campaigns out there. For some ideas on how to create your own Instagram marketing strategy, visit our informative blog post.
While Marketing Inspiration’s Instagram doesn’t offer much in the way of analysis or campaign specific details, it saves you time from having to start from scratch while researching creative marketing ideas or use cases. Once you’ve seen it on Marketing Inspiration’s Instagram feed, you at least know what you’re looking for when you hit Google.
That said, the account does feature some relevant digital stats that you might find interesting.
Dubbed the Instagram Expert, Sue B. Zimmerman has taught thousands of businesses how to market themselves online. She’s the founder of Insta-Results, the world’s first comprehensive online Instagram course and is also the author of “Instagram Basics For Your Business,” which is an excellent beginner’s guide to Instagram.
Zimmerman’s Instagram account is full of resources for anyone looking to step up their Instagram game. Not only that, but her account itself is a stellar example of how to balance promotional and personable content.
Social media is always in a state of flux. New features and tools are popping up all of the time, and it can be overwhelming at times to take it all in. Social Media Examiner aims to help businesses discover how to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness and increase sales using the constantly evolving medium.
What we love about Social Media Examiner’s Instagram account is that it’s a perfect example of how an online publication can use the platform to drive website traffic. Its feed is full of bright, well designed images that promote the site’s latest articles. As a follower, you’ll never miss out on a valuable how-to, important social media news or special event announcement.
The accounts mentioned above are just a small handful of the many insightful Instagram accounts to follow. If you know of an account that would be an excellent addition to our list, let us know in the comments. If you’d like to learn more about our team, follow Sprout Social on Instagram.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.